Jan Hadlaw is an Associate Professor in the Department of Design and cross-appointed to the Communication & Culture, Science & Technology Studies, and Interdisciplinary Studies graduate programs. Prior to completing her PhD in media history, she was a graphic designer in Montréal and worked with a diverse range of clients, including Alcan, the National Film Board, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and independent galleries and artists across Canada.
Her research focuses on design and everyday life, especially the design of 20th century technologies, their representation in popular culture, and their roles in advancing modern conceptions of time, space, and identity. Her book Communicating Modernity: Design, Representation, and the Making of the American Telephone (University of Pittsburgh Press, forthcoming) is a cultural and business history that examines how the telephone was conceived, promoted, and ultimately integrated into modern imaginaries and practices of everyday life. A new research project examines practices of repair and maintenance in the telephone industry that influenced the design of the telephone and management of its ‘afterlife.’
She is presently co-editing Connecting Canada, an interdisciplinary collection of essays that examine the roles of communication, transportation, culture, politics, and the economy in constructing Canadian national identity. She also co-edited the collection Theories of the Mobile Internet: Materialities and Imaginairies (Routledge, 2014).
She has published articles in such journals as Design Issues, Space & Culture, Technology & Culture, Material Culture Review, and Objet et Communication. Recent publications include: “The Modern American Telephone as a Contested Technological Thing,” in Atzmon and Boradkar (eds.), Encountering Things: Design and Thing Theory (Bloomsbury, 2017); and “‘Mysteries of the New Phone Explained’: Introducing Dial Telephones and Automatic Service to Bell Canada Subscribers in the 1920s,” in Imhotep-Jones and Adcock (eds.), Made Modern: Science and Technology in Canadian History (UBC Press, 2018). Her article “Design Nationalism, Technological Pragmatism, and the Performance of Canadian-ness: The Case of the Contempra Telephone” is forthcoming in Journal of Design History.
Dr. Hadlaw is the member of executive committee of the International Committee on the History of Technology (ICHOTEC), and sits on the editorial board of ICON: International Journal of the History of Technology.